Pursue Your Joy
A number of years ago I pursued what I considered to be the pinnacle job of my career and the only thing that stood between me and having all I had ever wanted was an interview. I was certain this job would add to my already happy life. Instead I walked away empty handed and disappointed. That kind of let down happens to all of us at one time or another, but it doesn’t have to define who we are. Even a simple misunderstanding with a loved one or the loss of a long time friendship can attempt to derail our joy-filled lives. I’ve learned over the years that whatever life’s hurts bring, they can rob you of your joy, if you let them. But if you choose to stand strong in Christ and His Word, then you can keep your joy through life’s circumstances.
How to Rejoice in the Midst of Disappointment
Even in the midst of a setback or hurt, God has other plans. BIG plans. And because He’s in charge, we can rest in His presence and protection. More than anything, you can pray for Him to take hold of your disappointments and soothe your hurts. Even when something important slips through your hands, it’s God who reminds you where your real joy comes from. Scripture tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always;” regardless of our circumstances.
His Ways are Better
Turns out what I once considered as the be all, end all job, actually opened a completely different door to walk through. Instead of pursuing another school job [I already have the perfect one], He also called me to ministry. And while this ministry thing isn’t an easy gig, it has been God’s calling on my life and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
Living out my testimony is both humbling and scary. Whether we like it or not people are always watching to see how we handle disappointments. But God gives us courage to survive the challenges and painful moments and come out on the other side shouting cries of joy. And in the big scheme of things, I realized this disappointment was a small hiccup on the way to something so much better.
Joyful in Spirit
God wants us to be joyful in spirit, even in the midst of worry, stress, pain, anxiety and frustration that we sometimes experience.
Psalm 28:7 NIV tells us, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.”
Find Your Happy Life
One of the poignant stories of joy that I cling to is in the book of Philippians. It’s the Apostle Paul’s joy letter. The Philippi believers had enjoyed a very special relationship with Paul and his letter was an expression of his love and affection for them. Philippians emphasizes the real joy of Christian life and references joy 16 times throughout its four chapters.
In his letter, written from prison, Paul speaks about joy and about the Christian’s duty to rejoice over and over again. How could someone locked up encourage others to rejoice?
Paul dedicated his life to serving Christ, but it didn’t come without severe trials and challenges. Scripture says he faced excruciating poverty, abundant wealth and many other things in between. But regardless of his circumstances, Paul learned to be content, finding joy as he focused all of his efforts in following and depending on Christ.
Paul’s words provide so much comfort. Philippians 4:4-5 NIV says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Prison would be the last place to rejoice, but Paul was reminding us that our inner attitudes must align with our outward circumstances. He was full of joy because of His relationship with Jesus. It’s easy to be discouraged, but God’s Word tells us we are to be joyful in all situations.
You Be the Joy
So today and every day, choose joy. Be a light for Him as you choose to be obedient and follow Him. Walk through the disappointments with confidence and courage because there’s joy waiting on the other side. God’s Word promises it.
How do you handle disappointment and what brings you through it? What favorite JOY verses speak to you?
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